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Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Foods and Fine Wines of the Rich and Famous" with Ariane Daguin & Andrea Robinson at SoBe Wine & Food Festival!

Presenters Andrea Robinson & Ariane Daguin
Last weekend the 2012 South Beach Wine & Food Festival descended upon South Florida like a hurricane of deliciousness! In addition to all the wining and dining, the festival devotes a large portion of the weekend to educational seminars featuring many respected food and wine personalities. These seminars are usually my favorite part of the weekend and this year proved to be no exception. Driven by my penchant for all things glamorous, I was especially drawn to a seminar entitled "Food and Fine Wines of the Rich and Famous" presented by Ariane Daguin, proprietress of D'Artagnan Gourmet Foods and Andrea Robinson, Master Sommelier. Needless to say, I signed up immediately!

Ariane Daguin, Founder of D'Artagnan
Ariane Daguin is the founder of D'Artagnan Gourmet Foods, the leading purveyor of organic poultry, game, foie gras, pâtés, and wild mushrooms to the United States. Born into a world of good food, Daguin's father, André was chef-owner of the Hotel de France in Gascony, and is known throughout France for his artistry with foie gras and other Gascon specialties. In 1985, after pursuing a degree from Columbia University and working part-time for a New York pâté producer, Ariane launched D'Artagnan which, at the time, was the only purveyor of foie gras and game in the United States. She named her company after the character immortalized as the fourth Musketeer in Alexandre Dumas' novel "The Three Musketeers" who she described in her charming, thick Gascon accent as, "a good guy who did the right thing."

Co-hosting the seminar was one of my favorite women in the world of wine, the sprightly, energetic and imminently knowledgeable Andrea Robinson. Robinson is one of only 17 women in the world to have achieved the coveted title of Master Sommelier and also graduated with honors from the French Culinary Institute where she later served as Dean of Wine Studies. She was also the first woman ever chosen as Best Sommelier in the United States by the Sommelier Society of America, was named Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional by the James Beard Foundation in 2002, and was selected by Bon Appétit Magazine as Wine & Spirits Professional of The Year in 2004. Robinson has also authored many fabulous books and is a true master of food and wine pairings. Yet, despite all of her impressive credentials and accomplishments, Andrea is about as down to earth and approachable as they come. You gotta love that!

For the seminar, Daguin provided an assortment of decadent specialties from D'Artagnan including:
1. Foie Gras Medallion with Black Truffles
2. Black Truffle Butter and Duck Prosciutto Tartine
3. Pâté de Campagne, Classic French Country Style Terrine with Cornichon
4. Venison and Dried Cherry Sausage (not pictured)
5. "French Kiss" - Armagnac-marinated prune filled with  creamy foie gras mousse

Robinson countered with an equally fabulous lineup of wines including:
1. Krug Grand Cuvée Brut Champagne NV
2. Veuve Clicquot Rosé Reserve 2004
3. Domaine Faiveley, Mercurey 1er Cru, Clos des Myglands 2009
4. Dela Frères Côte-Rôtie, Seigneur de Maugiron 2008 
5. Emilio Lustau East India Solera Sherry, Andalucia, Spain

Me & Andrea Robinson
After we were introduced to the food and wine, the pairing adventure began! Through a guided and extremely enjoyable trial and error process we came across some spectacular matches. The richness of the truffle mousse paired beautifully with the texture and acidity of the Krug Grand Cuvée as well as the sweet, nutty flavor of the Emilio Lustau East India Solera Sherry.

The Black Truffle Butter and Duck Prosciutto Tartine was a spot on match with the '08 Dela Frères Côte-Rôtie. The raspberry, smoke and spice notes created a beautiful synergy with the earthy black truffle and flavorful duck.

The Pâté de Campagne and the '04 Veuve Clicquot Rosé Reserve made a lovely couple. The red fruit notes and creaminess of the Champagne really complemented the flavor and texture of the pork beautifully. 

The Venison and Dried Cherry Sausage went remarkably well with the '09 Domaine Faiveley Burgundy. The synergy of the pinot noir, venison and dried cherries was a crowd favorite. The sausage, which also contained some pork, was also quite enjoyable with the Veuve Clicquot Rosé.
The pièce de résistance of the tasting involved the "French Kiss," a culinary gem the likes of which I had never tasted. Who knew a prune soaked in Armagnac and stuffed with truffle mousse could be so positively delicious? Paired with the sweet, caramel notes of the Emilio Lustau Sherry, this was definitely a "kiss" I will not soon forget.

A big thank you to Ariane Daguin and Andrea Robinson for such a fun and educational seminar. It was a lovely afternoon experiencing the "high-life" through food and wine and learning some deliciously decadent pairings as well!


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